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GP locum notional pay cap set at £80 per hour, says GPC

NHS England has set its ‘indicative rate’ for locums at £80 per hour, as it presses ahead with plans to force practices to report every time they pay over this rate, the GPC has learned.

The chair of GPC’s sessional GP committee, Dr Zoe Norris, said that practices will be asked to submit a mandatory report on how much they have paid locums over the months of July, August and September 2016 ‘in the coming weeks’.

The mandatory report will ask ‘how many times in this period did you pay more than the indicative rate per hour to a locum?’.

Filling it out is compulsory for practices, having been written into the GP contract against the GPC’s wishes earlier this year.

The new national indicative rate of £80.01 has been calculated by NHS England based on the ‘average salaried GP pay range’ though the precise workings are unclear.

NHS England intends to use this information to map out areas of high locum demand, or areas where locums are particularly needed.

Dr Norris said: ‘The next few weeks will see practices being asked to submit data on how much they have paid locums.’

She said that this is part of practice’s ‘mandatory e-reporting’ so practices are contractually obliged to complete it, but stressed that ’it should have no impact on what rate is agreed between locums and practices.T

She said: ’This is not a cap. It is a data collection exercise. It’s important we are clear about that.’

In a blog on the BMA website, she added: ’You’ll forgive my cynicism about what happens next, and how this information gives us any more detailed information compared to what we already have. Needless to say, we will be at the table with NHSE looking at these figures and results.

’We will be reminding them what a significant part of the workforce sessional doctors are, and that in the current precarious position of the NHS, they would do well to remember this.’

The GMS contract for 2016/17 introduced the requirement to ‘record annually the number of instances where a practice pays a locum doctor more than an indicative maximum rate, as set out by NHS England.’

But GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told Pulse at the time that the clause had been ‘imposed unilaterally’ by NHS England and stressed there is no requirement for practices to set rates at the cap.

And at the Pulse Live conference in London this year Dr Nagpaul urged practices not to take any notice of the ‘indicative rate’, saying we need to ‘just challenge it head-on, and not be affected by anything that is not contractual.’

Pulse has asked NHS England for a comment.

Readers' comments (98)

  • I too paid a lawyer for a few hours work to get me out of a collapsing partnership and the threat of bankruptcy - cost close to £500 an hour and he probably changed the names in a standard document.

    I don't like working out how much we get paid per patient as it makes me want to quit entirely. This never ending bias against doctors and particularly GPs will eventually ruin medicine in this country and stop people going into it in the first place and those shouting loudest about how terrible greedy doctors are will be the first to beg them to come back. This wont happen until they're turned away from GP surgeries and A&E's due to lack of staff

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  • What is the rate for politicians including all their perks?

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  • I'm a long term locum. I work 7 sessions/week for £80/hr consultation, £40/hr admin. My take home pay last year was £56,000. Not a bad salary, in the ball park of a tube driver but not a plumber.

    Practices definitely get their money's worth. For these rates you get: 30-40 face to face patient consultations day (yes i'm flexible in workload depending on how busy the practice and other doctors are). Twice weekly turn checking ALL days blood results, post, respond to urgent patient requests for home visits and prescriptions and even (reluctantly) help with audits. My medical indemnity is £5000+ paid by me, I pay 40% tax.

    The reason i'm a locum is that I although I pour my heart and soul into my job, I cannot and will not do it for £18/hour as a partner quoted above. If you accept this it really is the end of general practice. NHS England are trying to divide and conquer partners and locums. We're all doctors, we all care, let's stand together.

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  • @2:08

    How long is long term? If you are doing the same sessions and doing the same jobs for longer than 6m then HMRC may class you as an employee.

    When you say take-home pay, do you mean pay after tax, NI and pension?

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  • I would rather pay above the £80 cap and guarantee myself a conscientious and caring locum GP than risk paying a lower rate to someone I do not know. our locum has just raised her rate from £80 due to increased indemnity costs.

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  • @2:08 Locum GP

    Sounds like you are being thoroughly exploited by your surgery . You appear to be doing the job of a salaried GP without any benefits such as paid MDU etc .

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  • We GPs - working within the NHS, partners, salaried or locum - should take care not to be divided and conquered. Call it market forces, call it managing workload, avoiding burnout or achieving a life-work balance, overall we are discussing the same thing - practices and partnerships are struggling to recruit and crying out for better funding of general practice to do so, locums have often either struggled to get or maintain satisfactory salaried or partnership working arrangements. The reasons for either position one finds oneself now working in are many and varied. Income and workload have never been entirely uniform or equitably distributed. What's at stake here now though is general practice and dare I say it the NHS as we know it.

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  • there are basically two ideologies.

    on the one hand there is the what is cost effective for the taxpayer and keeping the NHS afloat. in this camp ideally doctors labor should be as cheap as possible.

    on the other hand there is the doctor as a professional and being paid market rate.

    the profession is split into these two groups.

    the whole aim of the government strategy is to cull the workforce and force those who want the market rate out into the private sector and to keep those who are willing to work as cheaply and subservient as possible in the NHS.

    the BMA, RCGP, CQC, GMC don't want to get involved as it doesn't involve them. Their remit is to keep the NHS afloat no matter what.

    the first group knows they can not cope without the second group as demand will swamp them and they use emotional blackmail to keep the second group in check.

    it is a question of how many are in the second group and what they decide to do. if a significant proportion move into the private sector we will see the collapse of NHS service provision. but trying to bully doctors really isn't going to help.

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  • GP locum rates limited to £80 - hearts bleeding over here

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  • A cap suggests a maximum limit...
    This is the starting rate these days

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